On behalf of the Executive and the staff of the Zionist Federation of Australia, I would like to wish our partners and friends at Telfed, and the entire community of Olim and Olot in Israel, a שנה טובה ומתוקה, a sweet,  happy and healthy New Year.

The global pandemic continues to impact Australians and Israelis alike in almost all aspects of life. With Victoria and NSW still in significant lockdown and our international borders remaining closed for international travel, I continue to be impressed, but not surprised that the number of people interested in making Aliyah continues to grow significantly. Our community is proudly and strongly Zionist and Aliyah remains a fundamental priority and value for the ZFA.

Despite the border closures, limited flight availability and local lockdowns, we continue to provide support and encouragement for Olim and Olot as they prepare, and we are grateful for you, our partners at Telfed, for continuing to provide a “soft landing” in Israel on our behalf, which is even more necessary in these uncertain times.

We look forward to continued collaboration, to building on our strengths together, and to ensuring the continued success of Australian Olim in Israel.

Each year during the period of Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, we say “next year in Jerusalem”. That sentiment resonates all the more strongly in times like these, when travel from Australia is still restricted.

Israel is about to celebrate the first anniversary of  the signing of the Abraham Accords, the effects of which are also felt by our new Australian Olim and Olot, who can now fly to Israel via the UAE. This is something we would not have dreamed of even two years ago. I hope that these Accords will continue to inspire further steps forward in the direction of peace, and that next year the skies will be open for us not just to return to Jerusalem, but to an Israel at peace with itself and all of its neighbours.

In the meantime, I wish you all a safe, happy and of course, healthy New Year.

Jeremy Leibler